SA-8 surface to air missile

The 9K33 OSA (wasp) is a highly mobile, low-altitude, short-range tactical surface-to-air missile system. "9K33" is its GRAU designation. Its NATO reporting name is SA-8 "Gecko".

The SA-8 was the first mobile air defence missile system incorporating its own engagement radars on a single vehicle.

All versions of the 9K33 feature all-in-one 9A33 TELAR vehicles which can detect, track and engage aircraft independently or with the aid of regimental surveillance radars. The 6-wheeled transport vehicles are fully amphibious and air transportable. The road range is about 500 km.

The radar system on the SA-8 TELAR received the NATO codename `Land Roll', it was derived from the naval `Pop Group' radar system but is smaller since it does not require the elaborate stabilisation system. An improved system designated the SA-8B `Gecko' Mod 1, was first seen in Germany in 1980.

It had improvements added to the launcher configuration, carrying six missiles in ribbed containers. The system is reported to be of the frequency-agile monopulse type. It consists of an elliptical rotating surveillance antenna mounted on top of the array, operates in H band (6 to 8 GHz) and has a 30 km acquisition range against most targets. The large pulsed J band (14.5 GHz) engagement antenna is mounted below it in the centre of the array and has a maximum tracking range of about 20 km.

Mounted on either side of the tracking radar antenna is a small J band parabolic dish antenna to track the missile. Below this is a small circular antenna which emits an I band uplink capture beam to gather the missile shortly after launch. The final antennas in the array are two small white rectangular ones, one on either side of the array mounted alongside the I band.

These are used for command uplink to the missile. This twin antenna system permits the `Land Roll' radar to control up to two missiles simultaneously against a single target. Furthermore the two missiles can be guided on different frequencies to further complicate ECM.

There is also a tubular device fitted to and above the tracking radar, this is thought to be an EO/LLLTV optical tracker. This would be used to track the target when the main tracking radar is jammed by ECM.


SA-8 Specifications
Type Short range low altitude surface-to air-missile
Manufacturer Russia
Weight 35kg
Warhead 19kg blast fragmentation with proximity and contact fuses
Length 3.2m
Diameter 21cm
Performance Range 200m 15,000m, speed Mach 2.5+